Enforcement

Rescue Volunteers Headed to Houston Urged to Contact Houston Police Department First

Release Date: 08/28/2017

Aug. 28, 2017 – Volunteers with boats who would like to assist in the search and rescue effort in the Houston area are asked to call the Houston Police Department (HPD) at 713-881-3100. The HPD is coordinating search and rescue efforts in the city and is asking volunteers to call its office for directions and other information that will aid department efforts to manage the massive operation.

Houston and other parts of southeast Texas have been inundated with more than 25 inches of rain from what is now Tropical Storm Harvey since Saturday.

In addition, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is working with the Texas Governor’s Office to stage search and rescue efforts in College Station at the TEEX training facility known as Disaster City. Interested individuals who would like to volunteer should contact Texas Task Force 1 at 972-841-2105 or by e-mail at TTF1@soc.texas.gov for additional information.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which has received calls about rescue information, is not coordinating search and rescue efforts in the Houston area.

The LDWF Enforcement Division has sent 40 agents with 40 trucks and 40 vessels to the Houston area to assist with search and rescue.  All agents remain on alert and will be dispatched to the Houston area as requested.

 

 

LDWF sending search and rescue teams to Texas

Release Date: 08/27/2017

The LDWF Enforcement Division has sent 40 agents with 40 trucks and 40 vessels to the Houston area to assist Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with Hurricane Harvey search and rescue efforts.  LDWF sent 10 agents with trucks and boats on Saturday and 30 more agents with trucks and boats on Sunday.  All agents remain on standby and more will be sent as they are needed.

Habitual Commercial Fishing Violator Arrested In Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 08/24/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement division agents arrested a Houma man for alleged violations commercial fishing violations on Aug. 22.

Agents arrested Sam C. Dobson, 39, for taking commercial fish without a commercial fishing license and commercial gear license, failing to possess a commercial fishing vessel license, taking oysters without an oyster harvester license and violating Department of Health Hospitals sanitary code for log book violations.

Agents were on patrol in lower Terrebonne Parish when they received a complaint in the Bay Moncleus area.  Agents responded to the location and saw Dobson leaving the area.

From numerous encounters in the field and court, agents knew Dobson was an unlicensed commercial fisherman.  Agents stopped Dobson and found him in possession of sacked oysters and dredges dripping with oysters and shell.

Agents seized five sacks of oysters and contents in the dredge and returned the oysters to the water.

The four commercial fishing license violations brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Violating the sanitary code for logbook violation carries up to a $25 fine and loss of the oysters.  Agents booked Dobson into the Terrebonne Parish Jail.

Dobson has been cited and found guilty of multiple commercial fishing violations in the past.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Sgt. Bryan Marie.

Des Allemands Man Arrested for Commercial Fishing Violations

Release Date: 08/23/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested a Des Allemands man for alleged commercial catfish violations on Aug. 21.

Agents arrested Leon Fonseca, 74, for taking undersized commercial catfish and intentional concealment of fish during a commercial fish inspection.

Agents observed Fonseca actively fishing trotlines from his vessel within Bayou Des Allemands around 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 21.  Before agents could make contact, Fonseca attempted to illegally discard blue catfish that were less than the minimum size limit of 12 inches from his vessel.

Agents were able to retrieve multiple dead blue catfish from the water, but suspect there were many more they could not retrieve.  By adding up the retrieved catfish from the water and the catch still left on the vessel, agents determined that Fonseca possessed undersized catfish that made up 14.5 percent of his total catch.

Commercial fishermen may have an incidental take of undersized blue catfish not to exceed five percent of their total blue catfish catch.  Agents seized 64 pounds of catfish and sold them to the highest bidder.

Taking or possessing undersized commercial catfish carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Intentional concealment of fish brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Cpl. Kyle Wagner and Agent Anthony Corner.

Slidell Man Cited for Crab Trap Theft Violation

Release Date: 08/22/2017

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agent cited a Slidell man for alleged crab trap theft violations in St. Tammany Parish on Aug. 21.

LDWF Sgt. Mike Garrity cited Ernest Schmolke, 68, for illegal removal of crab trap contents.

Sgt. Garrity was on patrol in Lake Pontchartrain near Slidell when he observed Schmolke empty contents of six crab traps into his boat.  Upon making contact with Schmolke, Sgt. Garrity was able to determine he did not own the crab traps or have permission to empty them.

Sgt. Garrity seized 10 pounds of blue crab and returned them back to the water.

Illegal removal of crab trap contents brings a $450 to $950 or up to 120 days in jail.

Texas Man Arrested in Fatal Boating Incident

Release Date: 08/21/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident that occurred in Calcasieu Parish on Aug. 20.

The fatal boating incident claimed the life of Damian Haines, 8, of Vidor, Texas.  The incident happened around 5 p.m. on Old Sabine River near Niblett’s Bluff Park.

According to the survivors, Eddie L. Dunwoody, 35, of Vidor, Texas, was operating a 19 foot bass boat with a 150 horsepower motor with four other passengers on board while towing a tube with three juvenile boys.  He made a turn and the tube swung out striking the bank and ejecting the three boys.

Haines was airlifted to the West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital in Sulphur where he was pronounced dead.  Another boy was taken by ambulance to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, Texas, for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  The other boy on the tube suffered minor injuries and didn’t need any further treatment.

LDWF agents arrived on scene and determined that Dunwoody was impaired and he tested over the legal limit for alcohol.  Agents also drew blood from Dunwoody for a toxicology test.  Agents also determined that Dunwoody was operating the vessel at the time of the incident in a no wake zone.

Agents arrested Dunwoody for operating (driving) a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) with child endangerment, vehicular homicide, vehicular negligent injury, reckless operation of a watercraft, and violating a no wake zone and booked him into the Calcasieu Parish Prison.

Vehicular homicide brings a $2,000 to $15,000 fine and five to 30 years in prison.  Vehicular negligent injury carries up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.  DWI with child endangerment carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail with 10 days being mandatory for the first offense.  Reckless operation of a vessel carries up to a $200 fine and 90 days in jail.  Violating the no wake zone penalties are set by the parish.

The LDWF Enforcement Division will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.

Plaquemines Parish Man Arrested for Shrimp Violations and Battery of a Police Officer

Release Date: 08/17/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Plaquemines Parish man for alleged commercial fishing violations and battery of a police officer on Aug. 15.

Agents arrested Timothy P. Cheramie, 52, of Buras, for using skimmers during a closed season, resisting an officer and battery of a police officer.

Agents were on patrol in Bastian Bay when they found Cheramie actively shrimping with skimmers during a closed season.  The shrimp season is not set to open until Aug. 18, at 6 a.m.

When agents boarded the vessel, Cheramie began resisting the agents by not allowing them to seize his nets.  After numerous attempts to seize the nets and dealing with interference from Cheramie, agents told Cheramie he was under arrest.

When agents attempted to place him in handcuffs he became combative and began fighting with agents as they attempted to handcuff him.  After a brief scuffle, agents were able to handcuff and arrest Cheramie.

Using skimmers during a closed season carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail plus forfeiture of anything seized.  In addition, for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Resisting an officer carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.  Battery of a police brings up to a $500 fine and between 15 days and six months in jail.

Case agents are Senior Agent Travis Bartlett and Agent Richard Heinold.  Assisting agents were Lt. Adam Young and Sgt. Villere Reggio.

Shot LDWF Agent Returns to Duty

Release Date: 08/15/2017

Shot LDWF Agent Returns to Duty

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent who was shot in the line of duty while on patrol in Morehouse Parish in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2017, has returned to duty.

Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, 25, was shot four times including once in the head and once in the back while questioning a motorist around 2 a.m. on Jan. 7 on Hwy. 165 between Sterlington and Bastrop in Morehouse Parish.  After numerous surgeries and countless hours of physical therapy, Wheeler was cleared to return to full time duty in late July.

“Tyler Wheeler is an extraordinary young man with a faith and will to live that I have been blessed to witness," said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. "His courage and determination to return to work after surviving a life-threatening attack, typifies what it means to be a law enforcement officer."

Wheeler’s first day back in uniform was Aug. 4 and he went through a week of in-service training before beginning his first week of patrol duties on Aug. 14.

“We welcome back Senior Agent Wheeler with open arms and are very happy for him, his family, and our division that he has made a miraculous full recovery from his gunshot wounds,” said Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “Senior Agent Wheeler has always had very high spirits during the entire recovery process.  He will once again be a vital asset for our enforcement division moving forward and it is great to have him back at full strength.”

Louisiana State Police Detectives arrested Amethyst Baird, 31, of Monroe on one count of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer and Jeremy Gullette, 34, of Monroe, on one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder on Jan. 8.  Both are still awaiting trial at this time.

Wheeler was awarded with the Louisiana Wildlife Agent’s Association (LWAA) “Statewide Agent of the Year” award on March 11.

“I would like to thank everybody who has made it possible for me to return to work especially the doctors who got me stabilized and put back together, the rehab personnel, my family and the enforcement division for always being there every step of the way,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler has been an agent for three and a half years and is married with one child.

Two Men Cited for Closed Season Shrimping Violations

Release Date: 08/15/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited two men for alleged shrimping violations on Aug. 14 in Bay Couquette in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Michael Bourgeouis, 26, of Buras, and Toby Brown, 40, of Boothville, for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season.

Agents found the subjects actively skimming for shrimp in Bay Couquette in the early morning hours of Aug. 14.  Agents seized 513 pounds of shrimp and sold them to the highest bidder.

Using skimmers during a closed season carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail plus forfeiture of anything seized.

In addition, for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents involved in the case are Senior Agents Travis Bartlett and Agent Rich Heinhold.

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